Friday, January 29, 2010

Merrick Emergency Update (A Day Late)

The Matron has learned one thing about her youngest: He will sell his soul for a sticker. Value system? Completely reward-driven.

Now, your weary exasperated Matron initially made the sticker system a threat out of desperation during Monday's exorcism.

Matron: "I swear to God we are going to start using STICKERS as a reward for getting out of the house!"

Merrick immediately freezes, mid-flail, from his position behind the couch.

"Stickews?"

Even the IDEA got him out the door. Imagine the real thing?! Some fuzzy! Bright colors! Balls, bells, stars, dogs and kittens. Friends, the Matron is here to tell you that you can buy anything on a sticker, including Barack Obama and Willie Nelson.

Wise, wise readers also clued in on another current shaping this stream: suddenly, Merrick is the CENTER. OF. ATTENTION. Including Scarlett's. That's right--Scarlett was the one who created the Mother Board for Stickers, crafted chores (with Merrick and parental input), and determined said reward system.

There was much bartering. Merrick believed that he should get a 'surprise' for each sticker. The Matron thought ten. Global diplomacy ensued and several world wars later, they were grid-locked at 4 (Merrick) to 5 (Matron).

The elder statesmen conceded.

Since Tuesday, Merrick has been obsessed with good deeds. He has set the table. He offers assistance ("Hewe, let me cawwy that, Mama"). Not once as he fought about homework. He has been out the door on time.

To date, he has scored one new Nerf gun and one mini-box of Russell Stover assorted chocolates, which he dutifully -- enthusiastically even -- shared in the spirit of earning MORE STICKERS.

Better yet, his teacher (thanks decades of experience) signed on to be part of the team. She is letting Merrick pick the next Great Book series story that the class will read together.

Merrick: "Mom! I am IN CHARGE of reading in Room 110!"

Be still, oh beating heart! Words she never thought she'd hear.

The battle is hardly won but at least, she hopes, the army is assembled and on the field. (are armies on fields?) And it was definitely time for action. Not necessarily worry, but action.

Thanks, everyone!




17 comments:

kmkat said...

Yay for positive reinforcement that works! No need to break out the clubs and handcuffs ;-)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

That's great. Sometimes a big change is just what it needs to get things moving in the right direction.

I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating. There are two kinds of youngest kids in big families--doormats and steamrollers. In the long run you'd rather have a steamroller, but in the short run they sure do make life interesting!

Minnesota Matron said...

Jenn -_ thanks so much for that very smart observation about the youngest! Mine is definitely a steamroller and you're right -- better in the long run.

jenn said...

Hooray for progress! I always said I'd never be a mom that used bribes/rewards to motivate my kids, but that fell quickly be the wayside when I discovered that bribes/rewards are one hell of a motivator. They sure as heck motivate me.

racheld said...

What a fright!! I mistook the title for some sort of trauma or illness I'd missed hearing about. Thank goodness!

That young man has captuwed my heawt.

MJ said...

Hurrah, Merrick! You are one lucky woman, Matron, for having a child who succumbs to bribery! Enjoy!

Suburban Correspondent said...

Hmmm...I wonder if the sticker approach would work with the Republicans in the Senate...

Daisy said...

"In charge of reading!" What a great feeling. Maybe he'll grow up to work for a sticker company, designing positive rewards.

MidLfeMama said...

I am still trying to find Cooper's major motivator. So far stickers, candy, a prize of any sort, has not been met with enthusiasm. He is the child who refuses to be rewarded. But yippee for you and Merrick!!

Scarlett said...

Friends, we are just two days into this. Things could easily deteriorate. Realist speaking. I'll keep you posted!

Luciole said...

I hope the rewards will continue to work ! I'm a newly qualified teacher and have recently introduced them in my classroom (second grade) and the kids are completely into it (it's been 3 weeks already, but I still wait and see...)

Good luck with Merrick. You know, I have a little boy in my class who still can't read, but he's starting now ! I made him some "sound flashcards" and use a reward system for every difficult sound, word, or entire sentence he manages to read. He loves the flashcards, they're like a game... and he learns that way.

Sorry to have written such a long post. I'm just excited the boy is starting to read, and he's not even mine, so I can only guess at your excitement ! :-D

Viktor said...

When I was in second grade my class made a lot of trouble, and we had a sticker reward system instituted. Basically, every day without a major incident was one sticker (not one each, one for the whole class, rough times!). It worked remarkably well actually.

Mrs. G. said...

You gotta love a system that works. Keep the rewards small or you'll eat up a huge chunk of disposable income (I learned this dealing with a points/reward system in the classroom).

I'm thrilled you're having success. I'm glad Merrick is feeling good about himself.

Susan said...

I have always believed in the power of bribes. So happy fo the magic it is working - hope it lasts long.

apathy lounge said...

I remember when stickers used to work. Wish I knew what would work now.

Anonymous said...

YEAH!!! Who knew that's what would motivate him!!! I also forgot to tell you about the Captain Underpants (Dave Pilkey) series that just might stoke his reading fire. Somewhat quirky , irreverent and very funny my boy could not wait until it was time to read he next chapter. Doesn't hurt that it is sort of comic book looking but published by Scholastic. Never met a boy (and some girls)who didn't have great fun with these. Good luck with evrything! Bramble

Minnesota Matron said...

Oh we are all about Captain Underpants around here! Thanks everyone- parenting by blog is working for me so far!